An entrepreneur, according to the dictionary, is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
Along the way, entrepreneurs create jobs within the businesses they organize and manage.
While politicians, government officials, the Legislature and Congress can exercise influence over job creation, it still takes entrepreneurs to make it happen.
The Sauk Valley needs the jobs that entrepreneurs create. Our jobless rate hovers around 10 percent in Whiteside County and 9.5 percent in Lee County.
That’s why Sauk Valley Media, Sauk Valley Community College, Shaw Media and Midland States Bank have partnered to bring an outstanding entrepreneur to speak here.
Jack Schultz of Effingham is not just any entrepreneur.
The company he founded, Agracel Inc., an industrial development firm that focuses on rural America, has completed projects in 16 states. Those projects created or facilitated more than 5,000 jobs.
Schultz used his experience and research to document in a book the principles he uses to create jobs.
The book is “Boomtown USA: The 7½ Keys to Big Success in Small Towns.” Schultz wrote it to encourage rural communities to use his principles to create new and brighter economic futures.
Sauk Valley Media has made the book available to be checked out at its offices in Sterling and Dixon. The book also can be purchased at Books on First in Dixon.
In addition, four area high schools were contacted to gauge interest in having students read the book. Economics classes in two schools, Dixon and Sterling, have taken on the project.
Schultz has spoken in more than 300 communities in 44 states.
On Wednesday, Oct. 3, he will add the Sauk Valley to his list.
Schultz is the keynote speaker for the second Sauk Valley Symposium.
It begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at Sauk Valley Community College’s East Mall.
At 6:30 p.m., the Symposium program will begin in SVCC’s Little Theater. Schultz will be the keynote speaker. After his address, he will take written questions from the audience.
Also speaking will be Jason Anderson, economic development director for the city of Rochelle and the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corp.
Anderson has an interesting story to tell. After Schultz spoke to community leaders in Rochelle in 2006, those people set out to implement his principles. The amazing result since then: $1.2 billion in capital development and 1,500 new jobs!
For a Sauk Valley region that is hungry for jobs, Schultz’s message should be of great interest and importance – even more so because of entrepreneurial credentials we haven’t mentioned yet.
In 2005, Schultz was named Ernst & Young’s Illinois Entrepreneur of the Year.
In 2006, Schultz received the Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship.
This man has ideas worth listening to.
And the Sauk Valley Symposium is where you can hear them.
We invite you to mark Oct. 3 on your calendar and make plans to attend.